Snapchat’s new camera filters can now identify items in your photo and recommend AR graphics, borders, or stickers for you to add. The action is automatic and will insert recommendations into the filter carousel. To my knowledge you cannot turn off this feature, it is now a stock part of the Snapchat camera. The camera can recognize pets, sports equipment or events, food, and even specific locations.
These are powerful tools for Snapchat users, especially paired with their geofilters which is strictly based on your location data. Besides just making your recommended filters more relevant, these new filters will make it easier for advertisers to target their ads more specifically. Turning off your location information won’t be enough anymore, your camera can now give advertisers clues (automatically based on software and algorithms) as to where you spend your time. This is big news for advertisers and even bigger news for tech safety and security specialists.
What Parents Should Know
My advice is to always turn off the location data on your kid and young teen’s phone. I recommend only sharing location information when you’ve left somewhere, never while you’re there. There are many reasons for that advice, including not alerting people that you aren’t home and not making it easier for predators to figure out where you spend your time. If your camera is using the things in your photos to tag your location then you have lost control over your location data. That, to me, is a problem. Snapchat has been on my uninstall list for a while and this news just strengthens my case against it. Snapchat’s goal is to service financially and they are now making decisions to make their product the best advertising tool available to brands all over the world. This means forsaking the privacy and security of their users and most of their users are your teens. Uninstall Snapchat now. There…I said it.